Not sure if you’re in the mood for a romantic film or a bloody scare-fest for movie night? May we suggest you try the lesser explored genre of horror-romance? You might be surprised with what you find!
Here are some of the best horror films that stayed true to elements of romance.
1. The Mummy (1932)
The story of a 3,700 year old Egyptian priest Imhotep being accidentally brought back from the dead by British archaeologists gave us frights while his pursuit to revive his long-lost love brought to life some intense ancient romance.
This 1932 classic inspired the newer The Mummy movies and unlike the newer films, this one didn’t shy away from the deeply emotional representation of the century-spanning romance even while sticking to the traditional horror genre.
2. Mahal (1949)
This Madhubala-starrer tells the shudder-inducing story of a man obsessed with a beautiful ghost that haunts the mansion he moves into.
Rooted in an Indian take on goth, the film doesn’t boast of many jump scares like many horror films, but it certainly promises to spook you to the core.
3. Beyond The Darkness (1979)
A taxidermist’s fiance dies owning to voodoo magic performed by a vicious, jealous housekeeper. Grief stricken, the man digs up and preserves his lover’s body to make her his forever. If that isn’t horror-meets-romance, I don’t know what is.
Apart from the creepy dead lover’s corpse, the housekeeper’s horrifying erotic behaviour along with Frank, the taxidermist’s eccentricities make this a true scare-fest.
4. The Fly (1986)
The body-horror film tells the story of an unexpectedly tender love between a scientist who finds himself stuck in an experiment gone horribly wrong and a journalist who powerlessly struggles to stop his monstrous transformation.
The Fly is an eloquent classic monster film that, apart from the flat-out visual horror of the lab accident, marks striking romantic chemistry between the ill-fated couple.
5. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
The famed story of Count Dracula and his beloved dead wife Elisabeta portrays his as a hopeless romantic longs for the love of his life. And we’re talking about a Dracula film, so needless to say, there are ample scares in the film to keep your thirst for horror quenched.
This particular telling of his story changes Dracula’s reputation as a steamy Lothario, and paints a picture of the love-lorn husband that evokes the audiences sympathy as it evokes fear.
6. Candyman (1992)
Motivated by a deep love lost, Candyman‘s broken-hearted anti-hero is a slave executed for impregnating a wealthy white woman. His undying love for the woman juxtaposed against his lust for blood and revenge make for some pretty thrilling romance-horror.
The ruthless villain of this film and his notorious hook hand claimed several lives while he wandered in search of justice.
7. Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)
When a young man who recently lost his girlfriend discovers a top secret government operation in which the dead are being brought back to life, he makes the impossible happen but at a gruesome price.
His girlfriend rises from the dead, but with a new-found appetite for human flesh. The movie gives a whole terrifying new meaning to unconditional love.
8. Bride of Chucky (1998)
Picking right up from the end of Child’s Play 3, the scariest possessed doll in all the land returns and this time teams up with his ex-lover. The two reunited lovers embark on a disturbing spree of murders which makes for some scary cinema.
Like any loving couple, the murderous dolls too share interests and theirs are particularly bone-chilling.
9. Thirst (2009)
Thirst is the spine-chilling story of a priest that’s transformed into a vampire returns form the brink of death with a craving for blood and the body of his friend’s wife.
Vampires and eroticism are never too far off from each other. And Thirst explores the romantic sensuality in the vampire genre to its fullest.
10. Red, White And Blue (2010)
A ruthless depiction of unconditional love in a hopeless and ruinous world, this is the story of a damaged young woman and a sociopathic army vet and their journey through a series of horrific events.
A love story on the one hand and a slasher-revenge thriller on the other, Red, White And Blue is an unrelenting saga of destruction and violence.
11. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
The story of two vampires that have been married for centuries and now live apart, Only Lovers Left Alive is a frightening tale of romance and gore all at once.
The two blood-thirsty creatures are the perfect embodiment of the overlap between tragic horror and the earnest longing love make one feel.
12. A Girl Walks Home Alone Late at Night (2014)
This film is said to be set in an ill-reputed Iranian ghost town and brings us the story of a lonesome vampire. This unlikely romance between a girl with a special taste for blood and a dejected young man makes for a striking horror-romance.
The two protagonists strike an unlikely connection in the most unconventional of circumstances.
13. Let The Right One In (2004)
This Swedish horror film brings us the romance between a merciless vampire and a heavily bullied young boy. Apart from ample scares and murders, the movie does not hold back on cutsie teenage romance.
This opposition between death and young love truly makes this movie a disturbing yet marvellous watch.
14. Cat People (1942)
Cat People tells the story of a young Serbian woman, Irena, who believes herself to be a descendant of a race of people who turn into cats when sexually aroused. Sex, romance and humans transforming into cats – what more could one ask for in a romantic-horror film?
The classic story of a fatal, irresistible beauty, Cat People makes for a stunning watch and leaves you with plenty of screams, blood and sex.
15. Zombie Honeymoon (2004)
The doomed love story of a newly-wed couple that’s attacked by zombies while on their honeymoon, this movie shows us a wife in love, torn between her urge to protect her infected, and slowly transforming husband and her revulsion at what he’s turning into.
We see the couple in their struggle against the zombie transformation that makes for a perfect mix of true love at strife with itself in the face of striking horror and death.
16. A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)
This is the supernatural love story between a spirit and a human. The spirit being stuck in eternal service to a sinister demon, her love for the man is faced with unrelenting odds and it makes for a riveting watch.
The film takes you on a gory trip into the world of death and the path is paved with love and suffering.
17. Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl (2009)
A couple of monster girls fighting no-holds-barred over a guy, with gore flying by the gallon, this is the film for all that are looking for a true hit of horror romance.
There’s ample bloodshed, dark-as-it-gets humour and all of it is motivated by an unrelenting love the demonic chicks feel for a dude. It’s the perfect package.
18. Hellraiser (1987)
Hellraiser is the story of forbidden desire between a woman and her bad-boy brother-in-law who just happens to have returned from the dead after inadvertently surrendering himself to the eternal tortures of the world of demons.
The film more than delivers on shock and suspense, but also proves to be a surprising emotional ordeal.
19. Spring (2014)
It’s a time-tested tale – a boy goes off to Europe to find himself and instead finds an exotic young beauty to fall for. Except here, this beautiful girl turns out to be something other than human.
The movie tracks the star-crossed lovers as they explore the picturesque coasts of Italy and rest assured, there are enough murders and jump scares to keep you gripped through the film.
20. The Hunger (1983)
This love triangle between a doctor and an immortal vampire couple will satisfy your every urge for the perfect union between romance and horror.
The beautiful and dangerous vampires promise specially chosen humans eternal life, yet what eludes them is eternal youth. This endless pursuit to stay young and the classic vampire gore come together for a timeless horror film that does not shy from emotion one bit.
21. The Hidden Face
The story of a young orchestra conductor that gets trapped in her new home’s panic room as she spied on her boyfriend, The Hidden Face is a thrilling ride into the dark depths of jealousy and sociopathy in the context of love.
A story about the kind of love that eventually destroys everyone it touches, this film will leave you feeling shaken to the core.
A film industry veteran and recent widower, at the advice of his friends, stages an audition to find a prospective life partner – and the woman he finds himself turns out to be more than he bargained for.
Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike does not hold back on the gore and blood and in Audition, you’re assured a fair amount of cringe-inducing scenes. It’ll really give you a look into the scariest face of love.
23. Crimson Peak
The film spans the love between a young American woman whose mother’s ghost warns her time and again, ‘Beware of Crimson Peak’ and yet, her marriage to an English baronet takes her to the very doom she’d been warned to keep herself from.
Crimson Peak gives the audience a healthy dose of murder and intrigue, showered with scares of the Victorian tendency.
24. The Honeymoon
A seemingly simple story of a newly-wed couple whose honeymoon ends up being ruined by a series of strange, very strange events, The Honeymoon is deceivingly scary. Disturbing to the core, this one will jump scare the romantic in you.
The bliss of the couple, fresh in love falls apart in front of your eyes and it’s a bloody thrilling experience. Pun intended.
Get your popcorn ready, folks. No matter which one you choose, you’re in for a night of brilliant confusion between the scares and the feels.